It’s football time! The Hall of Fame game was played last weekend and preseason games officially start this week. While the preseason games don’t mean a lot to Fantasy owners, it is still valuable to watch. Take a look and see which players get more playing time each week. See who is playing with the third string one week and then the second string the following week. Keep an eye on what kind of shape the players are in and where they are playing on the field. Also, keep an eye on who is filling in due to the onslaught of injuries we’ve seen over the past week or so. Here’s a roundup:
When the news broke that Percy Harvin needed hip surgery, Fantasy owners panicked. While there is reason to feel disappointment, not all hope is lost. The Seahawks have said that the surgery went well and they are expecting Harvin to start practicing around Thanksgiving. Tentatively, Harvin is expected back around Week 13, as the Seahawks have a Week 12 bye. However, that Week 13 game is a Monday night game. It’s going to be difficult to trust someone coming off injury and surgery for a Monday night game when lineups have locked already. After that, you’re trusting Harvin in your Fantasy playoffs? It’s a gamble. In leagues that have an IR spot, feel free to grab him in the late rounds of your draft, but don’t stash him on your bench for the whole season. Sidney Rice has been dealing with knee issues as well, so look for Golden Tate to rise up the draft board. He’s going to be the No. 1 receiver in Seattle and he is currently undervalued.
Danario Alexander, WR, SD
Alexander wasn’t on everyone’s Fantasy radar, but the news of him tearing his right ACL does put the San Diego receiving corps in the spotlight. Vincent Brown missed all of last season because of injury, and he is sitting out practices now with a hamstring injury. However, he was touted as a Fantasy sleeper in many circles. Now with the loss of Alexander, he’s the No. 2 receiver for San Diego. He’s going to be drafted in the middle rounds, which may end up being too high. He does have the talent to be a WR2 receiver, but he’s battled injuries and has yet to overcome them. Phillip Rivers is going to need someone to throw to. Malcom Floyd, currently the No. 1 receiver, hasn’t shown that he’s able to fill that role. What’s left for San Diego? Last year’s preseason sleeper turned bust Robert Meachem, rookie Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal. Look for Brown to be a WR3, Floyd to play for half the season and then be a disappointment, and someone else to step up. Use a late round flier on Allen; he has the most potential.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
Not only did Maclin tear his ACL, but a week later, Arrelious Benn suffered the same injury. Both players have been placed on injured reserve and will not play this season. While there may be a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia, whoever wins the starting job is going to have a tough time finding players to throw to. DeSean Jackson remains the No. 1 receiver, but he’s the only proven one on the field. Riley Cooper was reportedly almost cut by the Eagles, but once they realized they needed someone to play wide receiver, they kept him on the team, and he’s back practicing with the first team offense. Jason Avant is the next best option. James Casey is listed as the top tight end. Michael Vick is downgraded because of the lack of weapons. Jackson is still the only receiver to draft out of Philadelphia, and he’s a WR2/3.
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
Nelson had knee surgery this past week and the early reports are that he’ll miss 4-6 weeks and he could be back for Week 1. The surgery was just to clean up nerve damage that had been lingering. While Nelson did miss time last year, it was because of hamstring and ankle injuries. If the knee was bothering him, it didn’t cause him to miss time. It’s hard to say where Nelson should be drafted. Look to target him in the middle to late rounds. He’s going to play this season, which is more than the other guys here. However, until Nelson is proven, look for Randall Cobb to benefit. When Nelson missed time last year, he and James Jones were able to capitalize. While Jones did have 14 touchdowns, six of those came in the six weeks when Nelson didn’t play. His touchdowns total will fall this year, but he is still a WR3 in Fantasy. Cobb is a WR1, especially in leagues that count return yardage.
Dennis Pitta, TE, BAL
A popular sleeper in a shallow tight end pool, Pitta was on many draft lists… until he, too, went down with a hip injury that required surgery. He will miss the entire season and Ed Dickson is now the starting tight end. Dickson has a hamstring issue he’s battling now, but he should be ready for Week 1. The problem with Dickson is that he’s not as good as Pitta was. In 2011, he did do well, with 54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns. The Ravens have also signed Visanthe Shiancoe, although don’t look to either to be your Fantasy tight end unless you are in a league that starts two tight ends.
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